As the online media and applications industries grow ever larger, Apple is looking to make it easier for users to manage their lives up in the cloud with a radical makeover of its iTunes software, according to sources close to the matter.
Changes in iTunes will include improved music sharing and file storage and integration capabilities with its iCloud service. This will streamline users’ management of music, videos and applications across the various Apple devices, the anonymous sources told Bloomberg.
Scheduled to be unveiled by the end of 2012, the venture would mark one of the biggest overhauls to the world’s leading online music store since its release in 2003.
Sights On Spotify
One notable change will see it adopt a new approach to sharing music between users, a feature that has proven vastly popular with rival Spotify’s subscription-based service. Apple has reportedly been holding discussions with a number of major record labels to negotiate unlimited access to songs for paying subscribers, as well as allowing users to listen to songs sent by a friend without charge.
Another feature of the iTunes overhaul will be a smoother integration of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, which will allow users to share the songs they are listening to.
The company also is developing separate applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod which allow users to access features such podcasts – a service which was previously only available in iTunes.
iTunes central to success
Apple can attribute much of its market dominance to the success of iTunes, which created almost $1.9 billion in revenue in 2011. The software also continues to draw more users to Apple products, thanks to its seamless synchronizing and sharing capabilities across the iPad, iPhone and Mac PC platforms.
iTunes plays a central role in the online media industry, with millions of users making their purchases through its service. The iTunes Store has over 28 million songs and 45,000 movie titles available to users and also allows access to Apple’s App Store, which currently stocks over 650,000 applications for its mobile devices.
Key Statistics - Digital Music in North America (source: IE Market Research)
- The Unites Stated and Canada count around 105 million subscribers to digital music services, a figure which is forecast to jump to over 227 million through 2014.
- Revenue generated by digital music sales in North America are forecast to rise from 2009 figures of $4 billion to nearly $12 billion through 2014, representing an annual rate of growth of 27%.
- Digital music revenue from single download users between 2009 and 2014 is expected to rise at an annual growth rate of 40%, jumping from $2.4 billion to $8.3 billion.
- Subscriptions for digital music downloads are forecast to increase from around 2 million in 2009 to over 9 million in 2014, an annual growth rate of 45%